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ForeclosureS.com: October Foreclosures Drop to Near 2008 Lows

Foreclosures fell for the second month in a row in October to nationwide lows not seen since last February, according to the latest U.S. Foreclosure Index from ""ForeclosureS.com"":http://www.ForeclosureS.com.
Nationally, October pre-foreclosure filings — which can include notice of default and/or foreclosure auction — were down more than 10 percent from August’s highs, and nearly 7 percent from September’s numbers. October numbers declined in about half of the states in the U.S. Foreclosure Index.
Properties repossessed by lenders following foreclosure, or REOs, were down significantly in October, as well — 22 percent lower than in September, to just 84,286 properties, the lowest monthly total since May, ForeclosureS.com said.
According to Alexis McGee, president of ForeclosureS.com, ""These latest foreclosure numbers are great news because pre-foreclosures are early signals of what’s to come. The nation’s foreclosure free-fall may be subsiding."" McGee cautions that we still have a long way to go, and some of the recent numbers may be skewed by lender programs for homeowners that delay rather than eliminate foreclosures. Still, she says, the positive numbers we've seen over the past two months reflect that efforts by lenders, industry organizations, and government groups to work with strapped homeowners to avoid foreclosure are beginning to pay off.
""Keep in mind, too, that though foreclosure is a coast-to-coast issue that affects tens of thousands of Americans every month, our analysis reveals that a huge chunk of the REO and pre-foreclosure filings are concentrated in certain states, and key metropolitan and coastal areas,"" adds McGee. ""Some are either hard-hit by recession and layoffs as in the case of the Detroit area, or are where property speculation, prices, and affordability spiraled seemingly out of control before the sub-prime debacle. The latter includes areas in California, Florida, and Nevada.""
Almost one-third of the 1.76 million pre-foreclosure filings so far this year are in 10 counties out of the more than 1,300 nationwide included in the ForeclosureS.com database, the company reported. Those counties include: Maricopa County, Arizona; Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in California; Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Lee counties in Florida; Clark County, Nevada; and Cook County, Illinois.
More than 255,000 of the 828,670 completed foreclosures this year to date are in 10 counties, also, ForeclosureS.com's analysis shows. Those counties include Maricopa County, Arizona; Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Sacramento, and San Diego counties in California; Clark County, Nevada (including Las Vegas); Wayne County, Michigan (including Detroit); Harris County, Texas (including Houston); and Cook County, Illinois (Chicago).
According to ForeclosureS.com, the number of foreclosure filings per every 1,000 households nationwide is the clearest indication of housing market trends. Year-to-date, the company says, 11.5 out of every 1,000 properties nationwide have been repossessed by lenders. That number is up 71.64 percent from the same time a year ago. And 24.6 out of every 1,000 have faced pre-foreclosure filings so far this year, 71.53 percent higher than this time last year.
But McGee points out that some key banks and lenders have already recognized that keeping homeowners out of foreclosure is good business. Banks like the now ""FDIC-operated IndyMac"":http://dsnews.comview_story.cfmxid=2797, ""Bank of America"":http://dsnews.comview_story.cfmxid=2974 (which acquired Countrywide), and most recently ""JPMorgan Chase"":http://dsnews.comview_story.cfmxid=3109 already have pledged to cut monthly payments for many strapped borrowers by lowering interest rates and temporarily reducing home loan balances, McGee explained.
""Our foreclosure numbers, plus the ""National Association of Realtors'"":http://www.realtor.org recent Existing Home Sales and Pending Home Sales reports for the last two months show that housing markets may be stabilizing. You can’t call a bottom with two months of data, but we are absolutely headed in the right direction,"" McGee said.
She continued, ""Prices are low and current government backed mortgages are making homes more affordable than ever. Plus lenders are finally getting realistic and unloading REOs at cut-rate prices. The deals are happening. Whether you’re a would-be homeowner or property investor now is a great time to buy discounted properties from motivated sellers.""
ForeclosureS.com bases its U.S. Foreclosure Index and analysis of pre-foreclosure and foreclosure proceedings nationwide on the number of formal notices filed against a property during the foreclosure process. That can include notice of default, notice of foreclosure auction, and/or notice of REO. All pre-foreclosure filings, however, do not end up in foreclosure.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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